China Marketing Weekly: Why Chinese People Don’t Like McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 14:08


It’s Wiki here. This week we talk about Chinese people’s reactions to McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, Alibaba’s efforts to grasp even more market share and Chinese brands wasting marketing opportunities.

Also, in our survey (at the end of the page), many of you mentioned that you would like to hear more about successful China marketing campaigns. And that’s what we’re planning to write about. So we have a question: What would you like to know in particular? Reply to this e-mail and let us know! And if you have a story of your own to share, reach out to us as well!

On our blog, we talk more about a mini-game that took China by storm. Have you heard of Jump Jump (跳一跳)? Brands like Nike or McDonald’s already invested in in-game ads. Would you? I must tell you, it’s not an affordable thing. But what in good China marketing is, right?


Top News

China imposes tariffs on US imports in response to American duties on foreign aluminium and steel. The 15-25% rise of tax will hit 128 American products including wine, pork, fresh and dried fruits, and nuts. - Read more (English)
China knows where to hit as an import of American wine reached 82 million US dollars last year. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria

McDonald's finally brought its famous Szechuan Sauce to China. However, as it has nothing in common with the place it was named after, Chinese people are rather unimpressed. FYI, Sichuan Province is well-known for its numbing-spice cuisine, while the sauce is rather salty and sweet. - Read more (English)
The company seem to have predicted that kind of reaction, so instead of selling it as a 'Szechuan Sauce', they relied on Chinese people's urge to chase everything that's trending on the Internet, and they went with "Internet Famous Dipping Sauce". Well done, McDonald's!

- Wiktoria

Starbucks will now have to warn their customers their coffee products may cause cancer. Although the company announced they would appeal the ruling of a LA court, some netizens in China accused them of “concealing the truth”. In the same time, other netizens commented they would have to “soothe themselves” with a cup of coffee after hearing the news. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria


Regulations and Censorship

New regulations on delivery services are coming into effect on May 1. They are being introduced to protect customers’ personal data. Any kind of rules violation, like disclosure or sales of users’ information, will be fined up to 100,000 RMB. The regulations will also refine the compensation process if the package cannot be delivery or gets lost. - Read more (Chinese)
- Sissi

Jinri Toutiao and Kuaishou ordered to examine users’ accounts and the published content. Everything that is regarded as “vulgar, violent, bloody, sexual, and harmful” must be deleted from the platforms. All the videos must be reviewed before being posted and the general number of the videos must be scaled down. In the meantime, a new account registrations are suspended. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria



Apple Pay will now be accepted on Beijing and Shanghai subway. The latest iOS update enables “Express Transit” function which allows its users to pay for public transport in Beijing and Shanghai (via NFC). - Read more (Chinese)
Well, better late than never. Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi rolled out their services as early as three years ago. However, it’s still hard for them to compete with WeChat Pay or Alipay. Personally, I think Apple did a good job starting with public transport payments and the company chose a good moment. Cities in China have just started launching mobile payments in their public transport systems, so Apple still stands a chance. However, after Apple announced the news, many users commented on social media that they didn’t even think of starting using NFC now.
- Wenhui

China’s banks fall behind Alipay. The number of China’s bank’s apps’ users (all of the banks!) is not even close to half of the Alipay’s users. According to latest reports, the number of Alipay’s daily active users is 158 million, on average. In the meantime, all the banks’ users summed up give us… roughly 27 million. - Read more (Chinese)
- Kevin



Alibaba Group will purchase for 9.5 million US dollars. is one of the three biggest food delivery companies in China and has over 300 million active users (read more in Chinese). It’s another step of the giant on its way to build all-in-one e-commerce platform and revolutionize user’s experience.
- Lillian

Alibaba acquired exclusive distribution rights to Travel Frog, a very popular mobile game in China. The games has been downloaded 30 million times, just on iOS devices, and is very popular among female users. It’s clearly Alibaba’s way to challenge Tencent and NetEase in the gaming arena in China. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria


Other News

Chinese brands fail to embrace women’s power potential. Although the national brands clearly want to follow foreign companies in catching independent young women’s attention, they don’t really understand their audience. In the age of #MeToo, giants like or Tmall still show that men are there to save the day or think that women’s biggest life goal is losing weight. Instead, they should follow the lead of, for example, SK-II. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria



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